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- "...and you ask how I could do such a thing? Well I ask you: How could I not? Once I had gazed upon the beauty of the Lord of Delight, I knew I had no choice. To catch even a glimpse of his immortal radiance is to be swept away by the pure ecstasy His perfect form invokes. I gave up my soul willingly! He shall be my Lover and my Master for all eternity, and I shall be his!"
- —Marquis Dolmancé, Bretonnian Cultist of Slaanesh
Slaanesh, known also as the Dark Prince, the Prince of Fell Pleasures and the Lord of Delight, is the Chaos God of Pleasure, Desire, Decadence, Love, Artistry and Perfection. He is passion given form. His is pleasure incarnate, from the intellectual satisfaction of a problem solved to the fulfillment of baser desires. His is the domain of frustration and agony, the struggle to achieve that which mortals covet. He is titillation. He is suffering. He is the sum of all mortal experience.
When positioning Slaanesh in the pantheon of Chaos Gods, many dwell on his role as the seducer and the fulfiller of sexual gratification. But Slaanesh is far more than a font of base pleasures. If he were, then he would not enjoy the pernicious success of corrupting Old Worlders as he has. Instead, Slaanesh stimulates the imagination. He embodies experience. He is the patron of artists and poets. He engenders the pleasure derived from the aesthetic, and serves as a great inspiration for all who would create and take pleasure from their creations. Slaanesh worms his way into mortal imagining by granting success at one’s labours, artificially providing the fuel that drives the artist to put brush to canvas, pen to parchment.
Of course, such sensibilities also extend to the physical. The experiences of the mind and the satiation of mental desires inspire deeper and darker urgings. Slaanesh erects new cravings by numbing the senses, requiring his thralls to seek out new and stranger experiences to achieve the same thrill as that first experienced. When the pleasures of the artistic endeavour begin to pale, his subjects turn to the physical to receive the same excitement, the same sensations as before. In a sense, the path of the Despoiler is a slippery slope. The more one probes the glistening pleasures found in this God, the greater the need to receive the new heights of passion.
Those who serve the Serpent for long abandon the sense of restriction imposed by social norms. What was once pleasurable becomes mundane, and his followers must look to stranger and more depraved acts to fulfil their cravings. Soon, even the most carnal of experiences lose their sheen, and so his followers look to the sensations of sweet agony to make them feel anything at all. Decadence blooms into perversion, perversion becomes abomination, until all that’s left is the all-consuming and throbbing urge to feel anything… anything at all.
Slaanesh appears as a humanoid with hermaphroditic traits—male on the left side and female on the right. Unlike the other Gods of Chaos, Slaanesh possesses an unholy beauty, stunning and glorious on one hand, and utterly disturbing and unnatural on the other. His hair flows like pure, rippling gold, pierced by two pairs of blackened horns that rise out from his forehead. He dresses in a shimmering shirt of mail, fringed with velvets and jewels of untold decadence and beauty. In his right hand, Slaanesh bears a magical jade sceptre, which he claims is his most prized treasure. His hold in the void of Chaos is vast and luxurious, where followers and Daemons alike cavort in orgies and feasts of vile, yet exquisite-tasting, food. Slaanesh’s minions are always erotic and strangely alluring, yet blended with disgusting mutation or disfigurement.
Symbols EditSlaanesh’s symbol is a synthesis of the symbols for male and female. His other symbols include hermaphroditic breasts, bestial faces, crab-like claws, and a coiled serpent. Most of his followers avoid wearing these symbols out in the open but dress in a sensual manner or wear jewellery with erotic motifs to show their pledge to him. Indeed, worshippers commonly wear the latest, cutting-edge fashions, though modified to show off extra bits of flesh or accentuate the body in ways that push social modicum. In private rituals, worshippers wear robes that expose the right breast, regardless of gender.
Slaanesh’s sacred colours are pastels and electric shades, particularly azure, pink, ruby red, and emerald green, often put together in a garish and contrasting manner. Slaanesh’s sacred animals include birds, crabs, snakes, and salamanders. Worshippers are particularly drawn to animals that are beautiful and perfect in most ways but bear some grievous flaw or gross mutation. The number six is sacred to Slaanesh, and most of his rites include this number, or a multiple of it, in some way. For instance, a small coven ideally has six members.
Of all the Chaos Gods, Slaanesh has the widest acceptance in the Old World, as there are those that indulge in carnal pleasures without invoking his name, but who definitely draw his attention. Slaanesh accepts people from all walks of life, though most of his followers come from the upper classes, accustomed to living in excess. Artists, poets, and musicians also are drawn to Slaanesh, finding inspiration in his motto of living life to the extreme. Unlike most of the other followers of the Chaos Gods, individual Slaaneshi cults have positive attitudes towards each other, creating a large network for his followers to try new temptations. Worshipers are accepted into his temples, regardless of race or nation, and a follower that travels to a new city is likely to find a cell or two willing to take them in.
Slaanesh has the strongest presence in the largest cities of the Old World. The nobles of Tilea, Estalia, and Bretonnia are particularly drawn to his creed of unabashed indulgence, further spreading the cracks of corruption in the ruling class. In these places, worshippers often put up a false front during the day as dedicated followers of Sigmar, Ulric, the Lady, or Myrmidia, while setting up secret, portable altars and performing debased rites to Slaanesh in the evening. More than a few highly respected nobles, merchant lords, and Priests are secretly servants of Slaanesh.
Slaanesh has few strictures on his followers, other than an unswerving dedication to the pursuit of pleasure and hedonism. The longer a follower worships Slaanesh, the more jaded he becomes, demanding even more disgusting and shocking perversions to stimulate his weary senses. The following are some of Slaanesh’s edicts:
- The pursuit of experience is an end in itself. Look beyond that which is safe and customary to know the true pleasures and pains inherent in Slaanesh.
- Glorify Slaanesh by awakening desire in all. Make no distinction between class or station. All are potential children of Slaanesh.
- All pleasure brings honour to Slaanesh. Mind or body, if it advances sensation, do it.
Daemonic Servants of Slaanesh Edit
- Keeper of Secrets: The greater daemons of Slaanesh. The Keepers have the most variable appearance of all the greater daemons, perhaps even more so than Tzeentch's Lord of Change, because their appearance depends entirely on the whims of Slaanesh at the time of their creation. Most commonly they appear with a head that is bovine or female in appearance however, and they always have four arms - two of which end in vicious claws or pinchers.
- Daemonettes: The lesser daemons of Slaanesh. Particularly powerful/devoted Daemonettes may become personal handmaidens to the Dark Prince known as a Herald of Slaanesh. The Heralds are often sent on personal business by Slaanesh himself, and can often be found gathering dark secrets of various mortal rulers for their god's pleasure, or presiding over the perverse ceremonies of the Slaaneshi pleasure cults
- Seekers of Slaanesh: The cavalry of Slaanesh. The speed of the steeds is unearthly, faster than any mortal mount. The Seekers are sent by Slaanesh most often to gather individuals or souls of particular interest to the Dark Prince and, needless to say, rarely come back empty-handed.
- Fiends of Slaanesh: The daemon beasts of Slaanesh. The Fiends skitter around on four humanoid legs that end in cloven hooves and, similar to the Steeds of Slaanesh, move with a supernatural speed and grace that is almost mesmerizing. It is said that the fiends are byproducts of Slaanesh's dreaming mind, and so their color varies depending upon his current mood- though they are most commonly various muted shades of white.
- Seeker Chariot of Slaanesh: Daemon charioteers of Slaanesh. These chariots are built for maximum speed and are adorned to attract and allure enemies on the battlefield for distraction, causing them to be less capable opponents in battle. Slaaneshi chariots are pulled by a pair of Steeds of Slaanesh and crewed by Daemonettes.
- N'kari: One of Slaanesh's most powerful Keeper of Secrets.
- Zarakynel: One of Slaanesh's most powerful Keeper of Secrets.
- The Masque of Slaanesh: A formerly favored daemonette now cursed by her master.
- Sigvald the Magnificent: Notable Chaos Lord of Slaanesh.
- Warhammer Fantasy RPG 2nd ED -- Tome of Corruption (pg. 198-199).